So Spinnup gets your music onto all the key digital stores but how can you secure “prime shelf space” in today’s online equivalents of the record shop? Here are some tips on how to improve your chances of getting noticed and featured on the sites of digital retailers.
Starting with the basics: have you been scouted yet on Spinnup? Did you know that you can ‘push’ your music to a Spinnup scout up to 3 times a month once it’s released? If you’ve got a new release coming up and a story to tell, then let your scout know or contact the Spinnup team directly about writing about your act in an upcoming feature. Plan ahead and give yourself enough lead-time before the actual release date (3 weeks or so) to promote your recording. Some sites, including streaming service WiMP, source their artist bios from Last.fm, so make sure you have an active account – it’s free! – with Last.fm’s Music Manager feature to create an up-to-date artist page and make the most of the site’s many social features and scrobbling statistics. (We’ll take it as read that you’ve recorded an awesome EP/album, the release information is spelt correctly and the cover art has been uploaded in the right format!)
Conquering the blogosphere. Hype Machine (hypem.com) is a site, which indexes and aggregates the results of influential music blogs worldwide (currently 857 “kickass” music blogs) in the name of new music discovery. They provide some practical advice on how to target blog sites that are likely to feature your music, and we all know that third party recommendations carry more weight. “Search for some bands that are similar to your band on the Hype Machine, then click through to the blogs that are writing about them. Bloggers really appreciate when you look into their taste first and send them something they will actually enjoy,” the site advises, and the blogs are also helpfully categorised by country and genre.
Familiarising yourself with the feature opportunities provided by each service is a plus. The iTunes store has its “New & Noteworthy” releases or “Best of 2013 so Far” under certain music genres and also has a much coveted free “Single of the Week” download feature. However, as their website clearly spells out: “Editorial placement is solely at the discretion of the iTunes editorial staff and is not guaranteed.” Streaming service WiMP has local editorial teams in each of the countries where the service is currently available (Sweden, Norway, Germany, Denmark and Poland), offering daily recommendations so they need a constant feed of new music to write about. Amazon’s site rates music according to user reviews, so encourage your fan base to review your releases and give their (preferably 5) star ratings! While not a feature opportunity as such, Spotify’s integration with Facebook makes it easy to share your music via a comment or status update. This, alongside other social features such as fans becoming ‘followers’, helps your fans promote your music.
Finally, bear in mind that the music industry is, and always has been, a people industry, and personal relationships remain as important as ever. One experienced artist manager makes the following observation: “The best way to influence the likes of iTunes et al is by building a positive business relationship with an established and powerful aggregator.” These days that aggregator can be a traditional label or distributor, or one of their online equivalents, who will have the personal contacts and can lobby on your behalf.